May 24, 2015


Local

CFS didn't know Sinclair often left with unchecked caregivers

Phoenix Sinclair might have been brought into care as a toddler had Winnipeg Child and Family Services known that she wasn't spending most of her time with her father but with unchecked caregivers.

"She probably would have been brought into care if we'd known that at the time," CFS supervisor Lorna Hanson this morning told the inquiry into the death of the little girl in care.

Phoenix Sinclair is shown in a family photo released by the Commission of Inquiry looking into her 2005 death.

THE CANADIAN PRESS / HANDOUT

Phoenix Sinclair is shown in a family photo released by the Commission of Inquiry looking into her 2005 death.

The agency didn't know because the social worker assigned to the case had little contact with the family and made no attempts to contact the list of caregivers they relied on -- whose names, addresses and phone numbers were on file, the inquiry heard.

Hanson was the CFS supervisor in charge of Delore Chief-Abigosis, the social worker who had the file on Phoenix from November 2000 until she resigned in late July 2001. During that time, she visited the family twice -- once on Feb. 5 and again on July 6.

In the meantime, Phoenix's parents Samantha Kematch and Steve Sinclair had a second baby, Kematch left Sinclair and the children, police had been called to the home about domestic violence and concerns had been raised about Sinclair's drinking. On July 15, 2001, baby Echo died of an acute respiratory infection and the agency was informed that Sinclair's sister was watching 15-month-old Phoenix.

Hanson testified she returned from materinity leave to her job as a CFS as a supervisor on June 1 2001. She has no recollection of the case but said she expected social workers were doing their jobs and maintaining contact with clients and making sure children were in a safe place.

When asked if there was any indication that Chief-Abigosis had done that, she said no. Her testimony continues this afternoon.

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